Saturday, April 27, 2013

This Is An Official Statement

"Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah ...."

That, of course, is what they all seem to sound like these days (remarkably like the adults in a 'Charlie Brown' cartoon, if I do say so).  A representative of the city is standing in behind a podium and in front of a bunch of microphones to tell us that there's a problem, and that the water and sewer system is going to hell.  Oh sure, he knows as well as you do that part of what we've been paying for years was to take care of the upkeep of the system (which evidently no one really bothered to do, in spite of the fact that they told us they were).  That's not important now though.  What's important is that without money, a lot of money, the problem can never be solved. 

No wait, it's a representative of the state telling us that in spite of the fact that we're spending more money per child than we ever have in the nation's history on education, we need to spend much more money for it.  This isn't more money to keep and reward the best teachers, to test more innovative teaching methods, or for technology that might make the process better for teachers and students alike; but only to perpetuate the existing failed practices.  Previous dramatic increases in spending have done nothing to produce students more ready for higher education, increase measurable test results, or even increase general literacy in this country.  Such prior failure however, has nothing to do with the potential of success (no matter how remote it is); but more money it is.  

No, it's a representative of our federal government telling us that in spite of the increasing amount of money that we're spending on the war on poverty, that we're losing the battle.  Not only are we losing however, but according to the government, our investment has led to a situation where things are worse than when we started, and in fact worse than ever before.  In fact, perhaps one of the few successful bits of strategy is that some of the money we're spending has been to recruit new victims to the struggle or to relax the rules so that more than would have in the past will now qualify.  We've been fighting this war for over 50 years now, but instead of it being one that America has long since become tired of funding at previous or existing levels, it's one that our leaders tell us can only be held at a draw (no one even talks about winning it anymore) through ever increasing staffing and budgets.  You've guessed it ... more money from us it is.

Fortunately for you this isn't an official statement, which means that it isn't filled with what one of those once in power in the Glass City used to call "half-truths, mistruths, and outright lies".  That means that you're free to actually pay at least some limited attention to it (well, as much as you normally do with JBS at any rate) without fearing that it's going to cost you any money.  Cause if you're being even minimally honest with yourself, that's what you normally do.  You're tired of hearing the same old crap from the same cast of characters; and knowing that each time they open the pie hole in one of their two faces, someone's going to be reaching into your pocket. 

Like many of you in this economy, I've been forced to recognize that at times I've been a bit wasteful and profligate in my spending.  I always figured that this was money, earned from the sweat of my labors, and I could therefore do whatever I wanted with it.  I never counted on being able to borrow money from friends and relatives in order to fulfill my financial obligations; and in spite of my setbacks, think I can say that what I owe to both is simply my thanks for being supportive when I needed them to (and putting up with me in the first place of course).  And in the process of my minor trials and tribulations, I like to think that I've learned from my mistakes. 

Government at any level however, seems incapable of this last part, and therefore unable to do the same.  There are those at least in government, honest to admit that many of the same programs designed to take care of a problem, though designed and initiated with the best of intents, are full of waste and fraud.  Whether we're talking about the quality of drinking water or that of education, they can point to glaring errors (usually far enough in the past to show that they weren't responsible); and assure you that now that such situations have come to their attention are being seriously looked at.  They can likewise point to serious breaches in the rules and enforcement as part of the bad old days that will go away if new and additional funding is approved.  When was the last time that you heard any of them making a subsequent official statement regarding the progress that's been made, the rules that have been changed to close or even address issues, or the enforcement cases that are being prosecuted against those who have done little more than steal both our trust and our money.

Unfortunately we hear nothing of the kind.  Journalism (especially investigative journalism) has all but disappeared from the airwaves.  Neither the television nor the radio networks (nor the daily newspapers for that matter) can afford the news staffs required to attempt to do what they once considered their moral responsibility.  Instead more often than not, their programs and pages are filled little more than the official statements handed to them by the very corporations and governments that they once attempted to protect us from.  Most of those dedicated to editorializing on paper and television talking heads that are their broadcast counterparts have become willing sycophants to the official blather of the ruling elite in order to keep their 'inside access' to those in power.  This unfortunately, has become a gift that's little more than a parasitic arrangement used by both for feeding off the public.  It doesn't take someone with their tin foil hats slightly askew to believe that the parasites like it this way, since when you've tuned them out, they can do damned near anything they like to you.  After all, they've more than adequately informed you about it by issuing an official statement.

So before ending this I'd like to issue an official statement of my own:

"We regret that Just Blowing Smoke has done so few posts in the last couple of weeks.  Technical issues, in conjunction with a mild case of creative blockage and a healthy dose of pure laziness might normally have been considered the root of the problem.  In reality however, the sole responsibility for this has been a lack of government funding.

Since no government in their right mind is likely to change this situation, we at JBS will have to do our best to pull ourselves up by our collective bootstraps and return to doing a better job."

We apologize for the inconvenience, and now return you to reruns of Honey Boo Boo ...    

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